The Risks of Coming Out

Source: Revel & Riot (2011)

Written by Remi

My sexuality hasn’t been a secret since 2005.  I’m queer and non-gender identified.  My parents acknowledge those things about me and love me as the person that I am.  To my parents, I will always be their child.

Coming out is a rite of passage for many in the LGBTQ-spectrum.  Beyond everything else, it signifies a step into complete personhood and a drive to create space to accommodate their existence.  Some of us were robbed of that choice by being outed.  For my own story, a sergeant from my unit called my parents to tell them that they raised “a queer” in the hopes that when I was discharged, he would still somehow have the ability to impact my life after I was gone.  Thankfully, it didn’t happen that way.

For some, coming out is an anxiety-provoking experience, but one that goes well.  There’s hugging.  There’s “we always knew and we love you just the same.”  There’s acceptance.  But for too many others, this is not the case.  They are met with contempt, hatred, bigotry, and sometimes violence.  It is, what I can only describe as, a massive and disgusting betrayal of the relationship between a parent and a child.

As a parent, there are things that you’re required to provide for your children to the best of your ability.  Their physical, mental, and emotional growth is your responsibility when you bring someone into this world.  To deny them the love and support they deserve is monstrous.

I spoke briefly with the publisher of this video and they gave permission for it to be shared.  I want to caution my readers that this is graphic and it depicts the harsh reality for many people who have to make a choice between loving themselves and loving their family.

This was an “intervention” that had been set up by the family.  It was an ambush that trapped this individual in a room, surrounded by hostile people, and an ultimatum was given.  When things didn’t go as planned for the family, they resorted to violence as well as going as far to tell him that he was no longer part of the family or welcome in their house.

According to this individual’s boyfriend, he is currently safe and has a place to stay which is away from his family.

Things have changed since I was a kid in high school.  I didn’t talk about my sexuality with others because it just added another target on my back.  I didn’t tell the person I loved how I felt because his parents were very much like the ones seen in this video (except for one and a grandmother, bless their souls).  In the end, he committed suicide in October of 2003.

Since then, “Don’t Ask – Don’t Tell – Don’t Harass” was repealed and many states have supported gay marriage.  But underneath that surface support, many instances like what’s seen in that video still exist.  Hate crimes are still committed against LGBTQ communities and discrimination is still real.

According to a National Coalition of Anti-Violence Program report for 2012, there were over 2000 reported cases of hate crimes reported to be committed against LGBTQ individuals, including 25 homicides which is the 4th highest year recorded in the history of the US.  73.1% of those homicides were people of color.

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